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Added to my seed stash + cheap potting mix

I've just been to Bunnings and added some seeds to my stash... Now I have:

 

  • Garlic chives
  • Russian red kale
  • Sugar baby water melon
  • Black Russian tomato
  • Tommy Toe tomato
  • Roma VF tomato (don't know what VF means)
  • Beauty heart radish
  • All year lettuce
  • Hector spinach F1
  • Mustard sprouts
  • Alfalfa, radish and broccoli sprouts
  • Coles early dwarf broad beans
  • Mixed lettuce
  • Mortgage lifter tomato
  • Hunter River brown onion
  • Cottage garden flower mix

 

And from Lissa:

  • Egyptian spinach
  • African horned cucumber
  • Passionfruit
  • Yellow jalapeño
  • Red chilli

 

I know a few of these won't be useful until it's warmer, but I'm ready for when it is.

 

Bunnings also has 25L potting mix bags for $3.27 or something like that. I'm going for another boot load tomorrow. I wish I still owned my ute!

 

If anyone is looking for any of these seeds (I know they are common), but you're more than welcome to have some!

 

Daniel.

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Comment by Daniel on July 24, 2011 at 21:00
Pics coming :-)
Comment by Lissa on July 24, 2011 at 6:11

Good stuff Daniel!

Before and after pics?

Comment by Daniel on July 23, 2011 at 17:54

So much great advice!

 

Today I planted:

 

  • Mortgage Lifter tomatoes
  • Thai Pink Egg tomatoes
  • Cress
  • Mustard
  • more flowers
  • mixed lettuce

I also pulled up a white (supermarket) garlic to check out its progress... impressive roots and a little marble-sized bulb, which I re-planted. Also pinched off some tomato leaves which were spotty/full of holes. Need to get in and snip off some side-shoots on the Black Russian tomato as well.

Comment by Lissa on July 16, 2011 at 6:49
Thank you for all the information on making potting mix ladies! More inclined to give it a go now once I have sourced the main ingredients.
Comment by Anne Gibson on July 15, 2011 at 21:25
Thanks Elaine! :)
Comment by Elaine de Saxe on July 15, 2011 at 20:52
Soaked coir (coco-peat) plus compost and whatever else springs to mind for whatever plants I'm making the mix for.
Comment by Anne Gibson on July 15, 2011 at 16:08
What else do you put with the Vermiculite/Perlite in your potting mix?
Comment by Elaine de Saxe on July 15, 2011 at 15:23
Good info Anne, thanks :-) I use Perlite 1:1 with Vermiculite and the dust is a pest, I always wet mine but there's still dust. I didn't know about the silica, so will stop using it. Using a mask in summer is not my idea of gardening. I read a book on Hydroponics years ago which said to use Perlite with Vermiculite in hot areas but didn't say why. Don't know about any numbers with Vermiculite, I get what the shop stocks so it's a potluck size.
Comment by Anne Gibson on July 15, 2011 at 10:52

 

I agree with Addy - making your own potting mix saves heaps and at least you know what's in it!  I also make my own but have swapped from using Perlite for several reasons: 

  • while it is good for aerating a potting mix, it has little water-holding capacity;
  • little-no CEC (so has no value in holding minerals in the soil);
  • but more importantly it has a healthy safety issue – Silicosis. Overexposure to dust containing microscopic silica can cause scar tissue to form in the lungs, reducing the ability to extract oxygen from the air – if you do use it, make sure you wear glasses & a dust mask.

I now stick with the vermiculite (grade 3 size) because it offers so many more advantages including:

  • high pore and air space;
  • high water-holding capacity;
  • high CEC (cation exchange capacity) so helps your soil retain minerals for longer by preventing leaching during watering (vital in container gardens);
  • excellent drainage properties;
  • is a good thermal insulator (important in pots/containers as it helps protect delicate roots from heat/cold)
  • and helps aerate the root zone.

 

I also add compost and worm castings to my potting mix so there are living microbes ready to go to work in my garden.  I'm a firm believer in using a mask when making up potting mix too.

I usually have little time when it comes to garden maintenance tasks so to speed up the hydration of the coir brick and maximise the use of this great ingredient in my potting mix, I:

  • add HOT water instead of cold - it fluffs up in seconds instead of overnight (cold water takes forever!)
  • add molasses, seaweed and Epsom salts to the hot water so that the potting mix will slowly release food for both the plants and microbes and it's right where I want it - at the root zone. i.e. the coconut fibre doesn't just hold moisture, it also releases nutrients.

I also add my organic fertilisers to the potting mix so when I pot up a plant or add the potting mix to the garden, I just pop the plant in and don't need to add anything at that time.  I've found this system saves me bucket loads of time. You can also refresh old potting mix when it becomes hydrophobic or needs reinvigorating rather than wasting it.

Saving and Sourcing Open-Pollinated Seeds - Also, if you want to grow your own food from seed or buy open-pollinated, heirloom and certified organic seeds, I have outlined the basics and put a list together here of the major seed companies in Australia. Hope this helps!

Comment by Addy on July 2, 2011 at 6:55
Daniel, a good potting mix you can make: compressed coir mixed with perlite or vermiculite. Soak the coir brick in a bucket of water, and add some perlite. I've found this to be a better option to packaged potting mix

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